A 51 year old "board certified" orthopedic surgeon in New Jersey is offended that a woman who went in for back surgery and discovered a temporary rose tatoo at her pantyline, on the side of her body opposite her back, has brought suit against him because, according to the surgeon's lawyer, her suit " suggests something he did was intended to be prurient, and nothing could be further from the truth," Rather, "It was intended just to make the patient feel better." Apparently, this was something the surgeon did frequently to "lift spirits" and no one had ever complained.
Art Caplan was called in. While of course what he said is exactly right, "You cannot do something like this even as a joke,'' it is horrifying that in 2008 it was necessary to get a comment from a professional ethicist to say this is wrong. Also, although I know to some of you a 51 one year old can be excused because "times were different" when he was raised I am only five years younger than he is and believe me this is not so.
[Editor's note: for non-lawyers, this doctor could be held liable for battery, for unauthorized touching (i.e., beyond the original informed consent, with no implied consent because it wasn't medically necessary). Given that the patient was under anesthesia, and the location of the tattoo, he could also be held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, which could warrant punitive damages.]